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Debunking the Myths of Hospice

By Senior Living, Visits with Von

Most people think that hospice is about dying. We are here to show you that hospice is about living.

The concepts surrounding hospice are often taboo and we avoid the conversation until we are forced to make end of life decisions. There are many misconceptions about what hospice is and when the best time is to start talking about hospice care. As a result, hospice seems intimidating and this causes underutilization of the many benefits hospice provides. Most patients and families who have received hospice care report they wish they would have known about these services and support earlier.

Join us for our July 14 discussion in which we will be debunking some common hospice myths and providing the real facts!

Download the Flyer

Date: July 14, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: yvonne@castlewi.com (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!

COVID-19 Update 30

By COVID-19

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We are happy to report no new cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff and that all of our communities are open to visitation under our Safer Indoor Visitation Policy. While the mask mandate has been lifted in the greater Milwaukee Metro area for the general public, we continue to wear masks and screen for signs and symptoms of COVID-19 when welcoming residents, staff and visitors to our communities.

We are taking a resident-centered approach to our visitation policy. Key takeaways for the Safer Indoor Visitation Policy include:

  • Visitation must be suspended immediately if there is a suspected or confirmed outbreak at a community.
  • Visitations must be scheduled in advance. We are asking families and visitors to please be patient and understanding when setting up visitation times.
  • All visitors must wear masks, allow staff to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, and follow the safety protocols.
  • Different locations have slightly different protocols, so the individual communities will be communicating specific instructions for that community.
  • As always, we are still encouraging virtual visits and making exceptions for compassionate care visits.

While the trends in the United States and Wisconsin seem to be getting better each day, the virus is still present. We ask everyone to please respect the safeguards that the CDC, Department of Health and Castle Senior Living have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

Resources for Older Adults – Visits with Von

By Senior Living, Visits with Von

What programs and services are out there for older adults?
How can I help support my loved one?

Join us on June 9 for a lively discussion on what resources are available for older adults. We will review local programs and services that may be available for older adults – whether they live at home or in a senior living community. We will discuss eligibility for and resources that are covered by Medicare, Medicaid and the VA. Programs on the agenda include home health therapies, palliative care, hospice, VA benefits, Medicaid, and different supportive living environments.

If there is a specific resource that you would like to learn about, please include that in your RSVP and we will make sure to cover it.

Download the Flyer

Date: June 9, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: yvonne@castlewi.com (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!

Creating a strong, caring environment for loved ones in assisted living

By Senior Living

Each year in May, we recognize Older Americans Month. This year, the theme is “Communities of Strength” – an especially poignant focus when living through a pandemic and looking to better days ahead.

But no matter what the time period or situation, there are always so many things to consider when the critical decision of moving a loved one to assisted living comes to the forefront.  Families often have to take a hard look at what their relative truly needs to be comfortable versus what they might want that person to have to make themselves feel better about the change.

If you’re starting the process of a life transition with your loved one, it takes courage and a thorough conversation about what’s best for them in a new living space.

  • Allow some personal belongings. Downsizing is an important factor when moving to assisted living. A favorite kitchen table or lounge chair may no longer fit in a new space, so it is left behind. What is important to pack for your relative are photographs of family and friends, photo albums, favorite books, a piece of artwork or a familiar blanket and pillows. Transitioning to new housing for your loved one shouldn’t mean giving up all the comforts of their former home.
  • Not everything should be new. Moving someone into an assisted living facility is a huge adjustment. So much is different for them – the people, the food, the routines. Many times, families look to our spaces that include kitchens as a must-have, especially if their loved one enjoyed cooking. If the resident is taking all meals in the dining area and needs significant support when eating, then the kitchen isn’t a necessity. Experts remind us that change should be kept to a minimum. The best approach is to limit the new things that our residents need to learn and adjust to, and they may not even use or need because of the complete amenities offered.
  • Expect change. It will happen. Your loved one will tell you that they don’t like where they now live. They may even ask to go home. Remember, this is a normal process when dealing with major changes. Keep in mind that to them, home is both a place and a feeling. Ask them to talk to you about what they miss. It may not change anything, but allowing them to express how they feel is incredibly important.
  • Be patient. Three to six months is the average time experts say that it takes for someone to adjust to assisted living. Stick with the reasons for your loved one’s move – improved safety, health, security, and comfort. This will help get through the tough times in those early days and weeks.

No matter what stage of the assisted living process, you can turn to Castle Senior Living for guidance. Talk to us about concerns that you have as we support your loved one through the transition and toward a happy lifestyle. We are proud to provide a comfortable, loving home environment that encourages independence, stability and happiness, and includes a variety of amenities, programs and clinical support for our residents. That’s how we build a community of strength.

Read more here or contact us with any questions.

Dementia 101 – Visits with Von

By Senior Living, Visits with Von

What is dementia?
How can I help my loved one?

Join us on May 12, when we will review excerpts from the dementia presentation, “Take My Hand – Effective Skills for Caregivers” (provided by University of Wisconsin – Green Bay and the Wisconsin Caregiver Academy). We will cover what dementia is as well as review the signs, symptoms, and stages of dementia. Additionally, we will watch a video to better help explain what it feels like to have dementia. Finally, we’ll discuss effective skills for dementia care.

Castle Senior Living incorporates the full version of this training module into our orientation for all of our employees.

Download the Flyer

Date: May 12, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: yvonne@castlewi.com (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!

COVID-19 Update 29

By COVID-19

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We cannot thank you enough for your perseverance and compassion throughout this difficult time period. We are happy to report no new cases of COVID-19 among residents or staff at this time. Birchrock Castle is open to visitation again under the Safer Indoor Visitation Policy guidelines.

All other communities remain open to visitation.

As a friendly reminder, key takeaways for the Safer Indoor Visitation Policy include:

  • Visitation must be suspended immediately if there is a suspected or confirmed outbreak at a community.
  • Visitations must be scheduled in advance. We are asking families and visitors to please be patient and understanding when setting up visitation as we anticipate a large demand for indoor visits.
  • All visitors must wear masks, allow staff to screen for COVID-19 symptoms, and follow the safety protocols.
  • Different locations have slightly different protocols, so the individual communities will be communicating specific instructions for that community.
  • As always, we are still encouraging virtual visits and making exceptions for compassionate care visits.

While there has certainly been an improvement with more people vaccinated, COVID-19 cases are still higher than we’d like throughout the state, and with the presence and spread of the virus variants in the U.S., we ask everyone to be careful and remain vigilant. Please respect the safeguards that the CDC and the Department of Health have put in place to protect our residents from COVID-19.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves.

Thank you for your patience and understanding. Be well and stay safe.

Castle Senior Living Job Fair on May 27

By Senior Living

Castle Senior Living is excited to host a job fair for anyone interested in joining our team. If you think you may be a good fit, please attend! And if you know of anyone who may be a good fit, please encourage them to attend.

We will be holding on the spot in-person interviews. However, if you feel more comfortable or wish to have a virtual interview, we can arrange for that too. For those coming in person, we will have paper applications available day of or you can get a jumpstart and apply online. If you are wanting a virtual interview, please apply online and communicate that you prefer a virtual interview.

We encourage you to visit our Careers page to learn more about our culture, values and benefits of a career at Castle Senior Living.

Date & Time
Thursday, May 27 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Location
10427 W. Lincoln Ave Suite 1400
West Allis, WI 53227.

Current Openings

  • CNAs (certified nursing assistants)
  • CBRF Caregivers
  • LPNs (licensed practical nurses)
  • Culinary Positions – cooks, aides, etc.
  • Medical Assistants
  • Lead Caregivers
  • House Managers
  • Maintenance Tech

A full listing of open positions can be found here.

To find out more information or if you have any questions please email our recruiter – Meghan Sullivan.

Culinary manager intends to make dining a delicious experience every day

By Senior Living

We recently sat down for a chat with Brian Bercher, the Culinary Manager at The Grand Hills Castle, and soon discovered that he can hold a conversation on pretty much anything – whether it’s creating from-scratch meals for residents, homemade food for rescue dogs or playing in an Irish band.


Brian Bercher is not afraid to admit it up front.

“I don’t cook at home. DoorDash is my private waiter,” he quips.

But in his lifelong role in fine dining as a sous-chef, executive chef, private chef and caterer, Brian is well-trained on cooking from scratch. Since January of this year, he’s been happy to bring his creativity to the daily menu at The Grand Hills Castle.

“I understand the regional meat-potatoes-gravy aspect here,” says Brian. “I want to make as much of our meals as homemade as possible. I’m a firm believer of supporting our community businesses, outsourcing local meat and produce. In fact, next week Monday, we’re preparing roast beef from a local supplier and I will season it myself.”

Brian, who began washing dishes in an authentic Japanese steakhouse when he was 17, has always been interested in food. He earned his culinary degree in between his living and working in restaurants, private kitchens and assisted living communities across the U.S. In addition to his position with The Grand Hills Castle, Brian runs a private chef business.

“Families hire me to cook their weekly meals, so that helps me stay in touch with family cooking and what they want to eat, as opposed to considering a five-star restaurant menu and creating a salmon souffle,” he adds. “In that way, I can reflect what the local wants and needs are much better to the Castle Senior Living community.”

In addition to his talents in the kitchen, Brian is a stage musician and plays bass guitar in the group, Ireland-the-band, which tours much of the East Coast on weekends. He’s involved in Greyhound Rescue and runs a retirement home with two dogs currently in residence. Homemade meals are also on their menu.

“I make my own dog food, usually about forty pounds of food a week. The meals are made with chicken liver, brown rice, sweet potato and carrots. There’s a meat, a grain, and a vegetable. The dogs get a well-balanced meal.”

Brian enjoys the freedom to create what the residents at The Grand Hills Castle want to eat. His goal is to develop a menu that is nutritionally sound and satisfying to the residents and their families.

“We are cooking for them in the same way that we cook for our families,” he says. “Our residents are like family, and we always want to do the best for them.”

COVID-19 Update 28

By COVID-19

Dear family and friends of Castle Senior Living,

We regret to inform you that we have had one staff member test positive for COVID-19 at our Birchrock Castle location. As a result, all non-essential visitation has been cancelled at Birchrock Castle until further notice. We continue to work with the Waukesha County Health Department to manage the situation. None of the residents or other staff members are displaying any signs or symptoms of COVID-19 at this time.

Birchrock Castle is considered to be under “outbreak status” and all the residents in the community are being asked to quarantine by the local health department.  One positive case of COVID-19 from either a resident or staff member places a community under “outbreak status” from the Department of Health.

We understand that most of the residents are fully vaccinated, but they still need to follow quarantine guidelines because they live in a healthcare setting per the updated guidance released by the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/hcp/infection-control-after-vaccination.html.

All other locations are still open for visitation under the safer visitation guidelines. We thank everyone for complying with the safety requirements.

The health and safety of our residents and staff remain our top priority. We will continue to be in communication with you as the situation evolves.

Advance Directives – Visits with Von

By Senior Living, Visits with Von

What are Advance Directives?
Who needs them??

Did you know that nearly 70% of Americans do not have Advance Directives in place? Advance Directives refer to the different types of documents that allow for us to spell out what we want (and don’t want!) for our medical care. They allow us to choose someone to be our voice when we are unable to make decisions on our own behalf. Advance care planning benefits those you love because it relieves the emotional burden of someone having to make those decisions for you.

Join us as we review the different types of advance directives, why they are so important, and resources to be able to complete them.

Download the Flyer

Date: April 14, 2021

Time: 3:00 PM

Location: Virtual (via Zoom Meet)

RSVP: yvonne@castlewi.com (You will be sent a link)

Yvonne Ward APSW, ACHP-SW

Hospice Executive Director

Yvonne Ward joined the Castle Senior Living family in 2020 and is an integral part of our soon-to-be-launched Hospice program. Yvonne (or Von as we like to call her) has over 11 years of professional experience in hospice, social work, and the healthcare industry. She is an Advanced Certified Hospice and Palliative Care Social Worker – certified in 2017 from the National Association of Social Workers. She received her Bachelor’s in Social Welfare with a Criminal Justice Certificate and her Master’s in Social Work with a Mental Health emphasis from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her goal is to help people with their physical, mental, emotional and healthcare needs by providing resources, support, advocacy and education. Von is so passionate about the individuals and families under her care, that she once arranged for a hospice patient to fulfill a last wish to go skydiving and then proceeded to jump out of the plane with him for support!